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The Citymaker Fund

“The first investment fund for ambitious citymakers in the Netherlands.”

The Citymaker Fund contributes to a vibrant and inclusive city by investing in initiatives with social added value and a reasonable economic return. The fund is a matchmaker between citymakers and investors. It helps initiatives to buy real estate and land and finance construction. To make the social return feasible, the fund aims to achieve a reasonable financial return. Moreover, the fund advises citymakers on how to develop a feasible business case.

Citymakers make an impact

Citymakers take a hands-on approach to make and keep cities sustainable, inclusive and attractive. They contribute to a better urban environment. For example, they set up circular hubs, public neighbourhood gardens and employment projects for people having trouble finding work, and they revitalise vacant real estate and turn sleepy locations into community meeting places.

Citymakers are socially involved and participatory in their work. They create value: social, sustainable, creative and artistic. They also increase the financial value of (adjacent) urban areas, land and real estate. Citymakers are passionate trailblazers for new area development by means of ‘placemaking’.

Citymaker Fund as investor and matchmaker

With social impact as a driver, a healthy business case is the foundation for long-term success. But it’s not easy for new players in the field to access financing. Funders who want to make socially responsible investments aren’t always aware of citymakers and vice versa. Traditional banks and funders consider small-scale and new initiatives to be too vulnerable or aren’t necessarily interested in a social return.

Solid support and a shared financial guarantee can help to ease these concerns. Private investors are increasingly willing to invest in initiatives with social impact, as long as the investment receives strong support and is well managed. The Citymaker Fund acts as a matchmaker between these citymaker initiatives and investors.

From regional to national impact

The Citymaker Fund started its work in 2019 in the Province of Utrecht. As the fund’s first investor, the province laid the financial foundation for the Citymaker Fund. The partnership with Triodos Bank increased the investment capacity. The bank is already investing in many special projects, including incubators in urban areas. The bank’s partnership with the fund is entirely in keeping with its social objectives.

The Citymaker Fund is a foundation with an independent management board and advisory board. STIPO and Stadkwadraat are the initiators and are tasked with mobilising the fund during the first phase, as well as advising citymakers on their business case. Once the projects have been launched and financed, private investors will be given the opportunity to participate and invest capital, thereby further increasing the fund’s capital.

The Citymaker Fund is currently financing the first projects of citymakers in the Province of Utrecht. After successfully launching the Citymaker Fund in the Province of Utrecht, it has now set its sights on other provinces so it can grow into the national fund for citymaking initiatives. The fund was officially launched nationally on 24 June 2020 in partnership with Pakhuis de Zwijger. Watch the livecast here (in Dutch).

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